2 Esdras 10

1 "On the wedding night when my son entered the bedroom, he dropped dead.
2 So we put out all the wedding lamps, and all my neighbors came to comfort me. I remained in control of myself until the evening of the second day,
3 when they all left. That night I got up and came out to this field, as you see.
4 I have decided never to return to that town. I am going to stay here in constant mourning, neither eating nor drinking anything until I die."
5 When she told me this, I put aside my own thoughts and spoke sharply to her:
6 "You are the most foolish woman I ever met. Don't you see what our people are suffering? Don't you know all that has happened to us?
7 Jerusalem, the mother of us all, is overcome with grief and shame. You ought to be mourning for her 1
8 and sharing the grief and sorrow of all of us. But you are mourning for that one son of yours.
9 Ask the earth; let her tell you that she is the one who ought to be mourning for the vast multitudes of people that she has brought to birth.
10 All of us who are living came originally from her, and there are more to come. Almost all of us go straight to destruction - the vast multitude of earth's children are lost.
11 So who has more right to mourn, you for your one son, or the earth, which has lost so many?
12 I know what you are thinking; you think that your sorrow is worse than the earth's. You think that it is only natural for earth's multitudes to live and then die, but you have lost your own flesh and blood which you brought to birth with such trouble and pain. But let me tell you
14 that from the time God created the earth she has suffered as much in producing human beings for God as you did in childbirth.
15 So keep your tears to yourself, and be brave about what has happened to you.
16 If you will accept God's decision as just, you will get your son back at the right time, and you will receive the praise due a mother.
17 Go back to the city and to your husband."
18 "No," she answered, "I will never go back; I am going to stay here and die."
19 "Don't do that," I continued. "Consider the misfortunes and sorrows of Jerusalem, and you won't feel so sorry for yourself.
21 You can see that our place of worship is in ruins, our altar has been torn down, our Temple has been destroyed,
22 our musical instruments lie quiet, our hymns have been silenced, our joy has ended, the light of the sacred lamp has been put out, our Covenant Box has been carried off, our sacred utensils have been desecrated, the name of our God has been profaned, our leaders have been dishonored, our priests have been burned to death, our Levites have been taken captive, our virgins have been raped, our wives have been violated, our devout men have been carried off, our children have been abandoned, our young people have been made slaves, and our strong soldiers have been made helpless.
23 Worst of all, Jerusalem, once marked as God's own city, has lost its glory and has been handed over to our enemies.
24 So put aside all your sorrow and grief. May God Most High, the Almighty, be merciful to you and give you peace. May he give you rest from your troubles."
25 While I was speaking to the woman, her face suddenly began to shine with a light that flashed like lightning. I was afraid to stand near her and wondered what all this meant.
26 Suddenly she let out a loud and terrifying cry that shook the earth.
27 When I looked up, I could no longer see the woman, but there was a city built on huge foundations. I was afraid and shouted, 2
28 "Where is the angel Uriel, who came to me earlier? It is his fault that I am so confused. My prayer is useless, and I have nothing to hope for but death."
29 I was still speaking when the angel Uriel appeared again. He saw me
30 lying there unconscious like a corpse, so he took hold of my right hand, gave me strength, and stood me on my feet. Then he asked,
31 "What's the matter? Why are you so disturbed and confused?"
32 I answered, "You abandoned me completely! I did as you told me and came out to this field, but I cannot explain what I am seeing."
33 "Stand up straight," he answered, "and I will explain it to you."
34 "Sir," I answered, "please explain it to me. I will die in my frustration if you leave me,
35 for I cannot understand what I have seen and heard.
36 Or is my mind playing tricks on me, and is this just a bad dream?
37 I beg you, sir, tell me what this vision means."
38 The angel said, "Now listen closely, and I will explain the meaning of these things that you fear. God Most High has revealed many secrets to you
39 because he has seen that you have lived a righteous life and have always grieved and mourned for your people and for Jerusalem.
40 This is what the vision means: A woman appeared to you a little while ago,
41 and when you saw that she was mourning, you tried to console her.
42 The woman told you about the death of her son. Then she vanished from your sight, and a whole city appeared. This is the meaning:
44 The woman you saw is Jerusalem, which you now see as a completed city.
45 When she told you that for thirty years she had had no children, it meant that for three thousand years no offerings had yet been made there.
46 Then Solomon built the city, and sacrifices began to be offered there. At that time the childless woman gave birth to her son.
47 When she told you that she took great care in bringing the son up, that referred to the period when Jerusalem was inhabited.
48 When she told you of the death of her son on his wedding day, that meant the destruction of Jerusalem.
49 So in the vision you saw how she mourned for her son, and you tried to console her for what had happened - this is what was to be revealed to you.
50 When God Most High saw that you were grieving for the woman with all your heart and soul, he showed you all her glory and majestic beauty.
51 That is why I told you to go and stay in the field where no one had ever lived,
52 for I knew that God Most High was going to show you these things.
53 I told you to go to the field where no foundation had ever been built,
54 because nothing built by human hands could stand in the place where the city of God Most High was about to be revealed.
55 "So don't be afraid. Go into the city and look at its beautiful and majestic buildings. See as much as you can.
56 After that, you will hear as much as you can.
57 You are more fortunate than most people, and only a few have the reputation with God Most High that you have.
58 Remain here until tomorrow night,
59 and he will show you in dreams and visions what he plans to do for those who will be living on the earth in the last days." So I slept there that night and the next, as I had been told.
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